The Chief Purchasing Officer
Gender defines the way a message is perceived, from sales and service interactions, to marketing, and call center scripting. All of these messages, moments, and service interactions sum up how your customers perceive your overall Brand Experience.
A Tailored Experience For The Decision Maker
So why would you want to take the time to create ways to tailor your Consumer Brand Experience to the female consumer? Women are the Chief Purchasing Officer in their household and the most influential consumer in the world. Women are the economy of the United States — according to inclusionary leadership group women spend or influence 83% of all non-business to business consumer purchases. Not only do they hold the veto vote on the majority of purchasing decisions, they are your number one referral source!
The reality is, most businesses don’t take this customer segment very seriously, and do not have the tools to give their team members to tailor the experience a woman receives when doing business with them. Furthermore, according to author Bridget Brennen, men make up 85% of the executives of the world! This gap between who buys and who designs the Customer Experience is enormous. The Brand Experience is ultimately created by men who are physiologically different from the female who influences almost 30 trillion dollars in consumer spending.
Women crave connection more than their counterpart gender—men. Moreover, if gender defines the way a message is perceived, then we need to get better at connecting with The Chief Purchasing Officer as she holds the most significant influence in all purchases and influencing almost 30 trillion dollars in spending power.
Today’s woman has grown to be more educated, with far more financial power and decision-making abilities. Through all this growth for the female gender one thing remains the same, they care an awful lot about connecting with you and are the best at building relationships. Unfortunately for you, she also expects you to be as good (or better) at connecting with her!
Perception = HER Reality
Here’s the kicker: the female customer is built differently than a man. It means the excellent experience you think you are providing actually isn’t – not in her opinion anyway. Perception is the reality, and it no longer matters what you think is exceptional service. It only matters what she feels is exceptional service.
When it comes to perception and seeing, feeling, hearing, and sensing things, there is no such thing as objectivity. The consumer sees, hears, and feels from where they stand, not from where you, the sales associate, stands. There is often a big gap between what experience we are providing and what the consumer, especially the female consumer, thinks she is receiving. A study by management consulting company Bain calls this disparity the “delivery gap.” In a study of 362 firms, Bain found that 80 percent believe their business offers a superior proposition or experience. However, only eight percent of customers held that same view. The extent of this difference is extraordinary.
We may think we are providing an experience that is welcomed by our consumers when in fact we are offering them an experience that we feel is right for them.
The golden rule that Grandma preached as we grew up – to treat others the way you would like to be treated – is a thing of the past. The higher standard that is demanded by customers in this day and age, especially the female consumer, is the platinum rule – treat others the way they want or need to be treated. By designing your consumer brand experience from her point of view, you will be able to speak to what she sees, hears, smells, and feels and ultimately close the “delivery gap” between perception and reality.
5 ways to Tailor your Brand Experience to The Woman
Create Female Consumer Personas
Creating a Consumer Persona is a great exercise to do as a team. Not only will it provide a greater understanding of the “Chief Purchasing Officer”, it will allow your team to be part of the solution. It’s important to remember when creating a Persona for the female consumer that she wants to be understood first as a woman and second as a consumer.
Create Real Relationships
Building a trust account with your female consumer base is extremely important when it comes to referrals and her desire to purchase. One of the best ways to do this is to create a real relationship with her. I use the world real with purpose; females can ‘feel’ when someone isn’t sincere, and this will scare them away. Get to know your consumer and create a real relationship through actively listening, showing compassion and empathy, and taking an interest in what she needs or wants (even if it’s outside of purchasing)!
Make it Personal!
As you build real relationships with your consumers and learn more about each; you should capture that information and use it in a meaningful way to tailor their experience and make it personalized. For example; if she has come in and talked about her son “Johnny” playing in a soccer tournament, make sure to ask her how his soccer tournament went the next time she visits you. Remembering this detail not only makes her experience personalized it contributes to building a stronger relationship.
Create a Female Friendly Atmosphere
Everything speaks – ask yourself: “Is my location female friendly”?
There are many ways to create a female-friendly environment, the trick is to look at the atmosphere through her eyes and flip the lens. Tailoring the atmosphere for the female consumer will result in her feeling comfortable, which will contribute to her trust in your brand.
Train for EQ
Even though this advice is listed last, it is not the least important. If a team member has high EQ, they will be able to execute tip 2 & 3. Without EQ, creating a real relationship and a tailored experience becomes very tough. It’s important to have the skills and knowledge to do the job, however, we can train most of these skills. One of the top reasons women walk away is because they don’t like the way they were approached or treated. Those with high EQ can read people’s nonverbal cues and can adjust their approach based on the needs of each consumer. You want to focus your training on soft skills (EQ) and layer in the IQ as you go. When you blend EQ & IQ together you will receive complete engagement from your female consumer.
Close the Gap!
65 percent of Americans prefer to visit a physical store. 50 percent of millennials not only go to physical stores, but they also prefer going to them as a primary means of shopping, according to research by behavioral marketing firm SmarterHQ as stated here. Knowing that women crave connection more than their counterpart gender—men, it is essential you tailor your Brand Experience to The Chief Purchasing Officer; The Decision Maker.